This is the story of our adventures -- every day and extraordinary; our dreams -- tiny and grand; our gardens -- ornamental and sustaining; this is the story of our journey.  We are a family of four living a mindful, simple life here in Los Angeles County.  We are green, conscious, and forward thinking.  We keep an eye on the past because some of the best things have already been done and bear repeating.  Walk and talk with us, have a glass of wine, taste a peach or a tomato, blow some bubbles and watch them drift up over the canyon ridge.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

That which was hidden

If you have viewed my photo montage below you might be thinking, "Those are not vegetable beds!  Yes, I see green tomatoes and zucchini and grapes and peaches but the rest is just WEEDS!"  Well, actually, the only true weed in there is the dandelion -- she is tall and beautiful and yellow so I left her.  Everything else was planted, at some time or other.  Many things have decided to reseed themselves and do grow quiet wildly but they are all welcome.

The one mystery for me is that I planted these:
And this grew:
I am sure that I am not mistaken.  The row was clearly marked and I had planned on that area for what I hoped would be a couple pumpkin plants.  Twelve germinated and took over.  And now are growing zucchini.  Aside from this one, that I wasn't expecting and let grow too large, zucchini are very appreciated.    Bummer about no pumpkins but we'll get over that.  

These are what made me happiest this week:
My first ripe tomatoes.  They made Alex happy too -- as she popped them in her mouth with an excitement most children reserve for gummi bears.  

She was also pleased with these:
Yup, that is my ENTIRE pea crop to date this year.  Well, it surely never made it to the table -- became part of the mid-afternoon snack tray.  

One of the pictures in the montage that is probably not identifiable (it is the picture just after the dandelion) is of my bed of overgrown (and hopefully self seeding) chard.  I had planted rainbow chard for a late season harvest last year - and it didn't really "happen".  When we returned home in April it was already overgrown and flowering.  I let it be and planted new seeds beside it.  What you can't see in the photo is that the new plants are beautiful!  I lifted the elderly shade off them and found a lovely harvest!
I also picked some baby spinach and some fresh basil for a fabulous salad -- served with a drizzle of walnut oil and some celtic sea salt.  

Speaking of dinner, I woke up craving homemade ravioli.  But I had no ricotta.  A good friend
suggested I make my own using this recipe.  Three simple ingredients -- milk heated to 180, vinegar, and salt.

After it curdled for a couple hours, I drained it in cloth lined colander. 

and voila!

I really wish I had a better camera that could take a decent close up!  In any case, it was just YUM!  Really sweet and good.  I mixed with some raw eggs and fresh basil and stuffed it into some homemade pasta pockets.

I sauteed the chard with some garlic in olive oil and Gregg grilled some sausages and we had the salad, for a delicious, garden inspired dinner!
Oh, so what was Gregg doing while I was making fresh pasta and cheese and picking garden goodies?  Brewing beer.

I like this picture of what I think is barley.
These are his hops.


Kinda Like a Chef said...

OMG, Must. Come. Live. By. You!!!!! Your food sounds fantastic!

And of course Chris would love to participate in brewing beer! And the kids could just play!

Erin said...

Gorgeous! Once I made ricotta and tasted how superior it was (and easy!) I haven't purchased it again (well, when at home that is).

Looks so beautiful, love your pics!

Marlyn said...

It is crazy how good it is! And easy!

jenni said...

Looks beautiful & delish! I adore your garden!

Henri is the same way about garden tomatoes!

Do you bake bread, M? If so-- save the barley after Greg has soaked it and is done--- i ground it up with some water and add about a half a cup to my bread- yum! If he ever brews a stout & uses roasted barley--- even better!

And if you experiment and come up with other barley uses-please lmk! :)

Marlyn said...

J, thanks for those ideas! I have had very little luck with bread in this house -- I think it's too dang cold. Always. It was in the 90's in WH today (car temp said 103 at corner of TCB and Ventura). It was warm and sunny here until about an hour ago when the sun sunk behind the ridge and I had to race to close windows to trap in the little heat we had accumulated! Crazy, eh? I think this is why my children are not morning people! It's too cold to get out of the covers. But then, Carolyn Ingal's baked bread in the winter in Minnesota... Maybe I just suck! LOL

Shauna said...

Okay next time I make lasagna I'm gonna make my own ricotta!